Mexican megachurch leader charged again with child rape

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California on Wednesday charged the leader of a Mexican megachurch with child rape and human trafficking, months after a court dismissed the previous allegations because of prosecution errors.

Naasón Joaquín García, the self-proclaimed apostle of La Luz del Mundo, was charged with three dozen felony counts involving five women and girls between 2015 and 2018 in Los Angeles County.

Also charged were Susana Medina Oaxaca and Alondra Ocampo.

García is the spiritual leader of La Luz del Mundo, which is Spanish for “The Light Of The World.” The Guadalajara, Mexico-based evangelical Christian church was founded by his grandfather and claims 5 million followers worldwide.

Garcia and Ocampo already were in custody while Oaxaca remained free on bail. Messages to their attorneys weren’t immediately returned.

Prosecutors contend that the three committed sex crimes and also produced child pornography involving church group members.

In April, an appeals court ordered Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss charges against García, ruling that his preliminary hearing was not held in a timely manner and he did not waive his right to one.